Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffins

Chocolate chip sour cream muffins

 

As I have mentioned before, my kids love those Hostess mini muffins. They are so expensive and I know, not so good for you. I am always on the look out for some muffins I can make that the kids will eat and I can pronounce all the ingredients. I came across these a while back, I’m sure while browsing Pinterest, and knew they would fit the bill.  One of my favorite recipes, one step pound cake, contains sour cream that gives it a wonderful texture and richness. So, I guess that’s what drew me to this recipe.  This muffin batter is so super fast to put together that I can make it, hop in the shower, get dressed, take them out of the oven and give them to the kids for breakfast before school.  My 7-year-old daughter, Sammie, is not a morning person and absolutely hates to get out of bed for school.  But, when I tell her I made these muffins, she jumps out of bed and runs upstairs to get some. These are just perfect for Monday mornings when no one wants to get up and they are a great way to start the week off with happy kids with big chocolate covered lip smiles.

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffins

Yield: 12 standard muffins or 36 mini muffins or 24 mini muffins + 5 standard muffins

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 cup sour cream

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit

1 teaspoon vanilla extract   I used vanilla bean paste

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips   I use ~3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chips with 1/4 cup finely chopped milk chocolate bar  (plus extra chips for the tops)

Coarse sugar crystals  optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F

Place muffin liners in your cupcake tin (how many depends on the size muffins you are making; see yield)

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients: the egg, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla extract (or paste).  Whisk until well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.  If you stir too much, you will get dense muffins.

Gently fold in the chocolate chips (and chocolate pieces if you are using)  until just combined through.

With an ice cream scoop. fill each muffin liner about 3/4 full.

Add some decorative chocolate chips to the top of each muffin.   I like to sprinkle coarse sugar crystals on top for sparkle and crunch.

Bake until a toothpick in the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 14-18 minutes.  For the minis, it took about 14 min and the large muffins more like 18 min.

Allow them to cool on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. If you can..

Source:  The Curvy Carrot

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What’s Baking Red Velvet Round-Up

February was my month to host our What’s Baking blog group. I chose red velvet as the theme because it only seemed fitting with Valentine’s Day.  And, I realized, I haven’t baked anything red velvet and it’s about time I did. I just love the contrast of the bright white cream cheese frosting to the red velvet base- whether it be cake, cookies, brownies or whatever.  And, the chocolate flavor is so mild, even my husband can enjoy it and he did indeed.

Whats Baking Badge

My good friend Eva, of Eva Bakes, made these amazing looking red velvet marble brownies.  I almost made brownies too, but at the last-minute went with cookies instead. These look so crazy delicious that I had to put them to the top of my baking to do list.

Red velvet cheesecake brownies by Eva Bakes

Alison, of Sparks from the Kitchen, made red velvet cookie bars with vanilla bean frosting.  Butter cream frosting is always made better by the addition of real vanilla bean and these look delicious. I have never made the red velvet version, but frosted sugar cookie bars are one of my favorite things to bake. Why?  Because they have the taste of soft frosted sugar cookie with much less work and my family absolutely loves them. My husband has been known to eat most of the pan himself.

Red Velvet Cookie Bars - Sparks from the Kitchen

Nicole, of Seven Ate Nine (can’t help but love this blog name), made Red Velvet Cake Batter Squares.  She had these bars at her rehearsal dinner at The Blue Willow Inn almost 5 years ago and was able to recreate them from the inn’s cookbook. I love how food can bring you back to a day and you can almost relieve that memory as you eat it.  And, I also love that these bars have just 5 ingredients.  I mean really, it can’t get any easier than that!

Red Velvet Cake Batter Squares- Seven Eight Nine

Ange, of The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen, made red velvet chocolate chip cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies have always been my favorite dessert to eat. I have never had red velvet chocolate chip cookies before but I’m thinking that should change.  Ange had the same problem I did.  Our red velvet wasn’t as red as we would have liked because of the brown color of the cocoa. But, never mind that because these look delicious.

Red velvet chocolate chip cookies- The Tiny Tyrant's Kitchen

Carrie, from Carrie’s Sweet Life, made a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for her grandmother’s birthday. Until now, Carrie had the same problem I do, and that is finding a homemade cake that she likes. I have found homemade cake to be too dense or too dry. This is the cake that changed all that for Carrie… as it was moist, the frosting wasn’t too sweet..in other words perfection.  I’ll have to give it a try. I have been meaning to make a layer cake so I can use the beautiful and incredibly thoughtful engraved cake server set my husband gave me for reaching a million views in November.  Awww…

Red Velvet Cake from Carrie's Sweet life

And, I made soft red velvet sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting.  In this house, we love soft, frosted sugar cookies.  So, I thought a red velvet version would be just perfect. And, I was so right. These cookies were amazing. They were really soft, with a hint of cocoa, and the most delicious cream cheese frosting.  Honestly, there aren’t too many recipes I make more than once because there are just so many I want to try.  But, I see more of these cookies in my future. So delicious and pretty too.

Soft red velvet sugar cookies with crea cheese frosting

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I keep seeing the same recipe for “The best chocolate chip cookie” all over Pinterest.  And well, no wonder, this chocolate chip cookie recipe has been viewed over 1.6 million times!!  Wow!  Well, I figured there must be something special about this recipe, so I had to make it and find out. Looking at the ingredient list, it includes all the usual stuff, but then there is cornstarch.  I’ve never seen cornstarch in a chocolate chip cookie recipe before.  I know you can make a cake flour substitute by adding cornstarch to flour and this must be the same idea.  The cornstarch contributes to their super soft texture and gives them their “puff”.   And, since I am in the soft chocolate chip cookie camp (crisp cookies? Yuck!), that is exactly what I am looking for.  I subbed in chocolate chunks cut from a Callebaut semisweet bar for the chocolate chips.  Without the stabilizers in the chunks, the chocolate can’t hold its shape, so it is all melty and gooey.  Have you ever tried this?  No?  You totally have to!

So, the verdict?  I have tried tons of chocolate chip recipes.  I mean, they are my absolute favorite cookies and all.  But, are they the best?  I almost never say that because there are still so many recipes still to try.  But, I will say they are pretty darn good.  Soft, thick and puffy, packed with melted chocolate chunks, still warm from the oven…. Do chocolate chip cookies get much better?  Jack and Sammie don’t think so.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen I got 21- though I had to throw the last 3 away because dang, I forgot about them and they burned 😦

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks-  I used Callebaut semisweet cut from a bar
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle, cream together butter and both sugars until fluffy and light colored.  Blend in the egg and vanilla.
Mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.   Mix the flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture by hand.  Stir in chocolate chunks.   The batter is very stiff.
Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just barely golden brown around the edges.  Do not allow the cookies to brown on top, just the very edges.
Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes to set.  Remove from the baking sheet and let cool completely on the wire rack, if you can wait.
Source:  Apple a Day, Originally from Anna Olson, Food Network Canada

Flour Bakery’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite to bake because they are also my favorite to eat.  Though I will say, my kids and my husband can tear them up pretty good too.  😀 I’m not sure how many different recipes I have tried, but it’s a lot.  I am always on the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  So, I decided to try Flour Bakery’s chocolate chunk cookie because everything I’ve made so far has been delicious.  I have never used bread flour in my chocolate chip cookies, but it is added to make them more thick and chewy.  That’s exactly what I am going for.  And then, oh my goodness this cookie sure does pack a chocolate punch with both semisweet and milk chocolate mixed into the dough.  This recipe uses chocolate cut from a bar instead of chocolate chips.  Chips have stabilizers that help them keep their shape when baked.  But, when you use real chocolate and you bite into a cookie right from the oven, the chocolate melts and oozes from the cookie.  If you haven’t tried it, you won’t believe how delicious it is.  You won’t ever have your chocolate chip cookies any other way.

Everyone says they have the perfect chocolate chip cookie, but I won’t say that.  I will say that these were some of the best I’ve had.  A bit crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and bits of chocolate throughout.  This is exactly how a chocolate chip cookie should be.  I think my husband ate half of them and my kids loved them.  Sammie keeps asking for more of the Amazin’ cookies. Amazin’?  I love it.

Flour Bakery’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yield: 2 dozen (I got 20 cookies)

1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter, at room temp

3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar

3/4 cup (165g) firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (140g) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup (150g) bread flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

9 ounces (255g) semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 1/2 ounces (70 grams) milk chocolate, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed to release clinging butter or sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium for 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the bowl and paddle to make sure the eggs are fully mixed in.

In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add the semi sweet and milk chocolate pieces and toss to combine.  On low speed (or with a wooden spoon), slowly add the flour-chocolate mixture to the butter-sugar mixture.  Mix just until the flour mixture is totally incorporated and the dough is evenly mixed.

For the best results, scrape the dough into an airtight container and let rest in the fridge overnight (or at least 3-4 hours) before baking.  When you are ready to bake, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.

Drop the dough in 1/4 cup balls onto a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment) about 2 inches apart. Flatten each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden on the edges but still soft in the center. I rotated the pans halfway through baking. Don’t let them brown through or you will lose the chewiness of the slightly underbaked centers.  Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes.  Then, transfer the cookies with a spatula to the wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  Unbaked dough can stay in the fridge, in an airtight container, up to 1 week.

Source:  Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwich Cookies

A few days ago, my sister-in-law was wonderful enough to take all three of my children so my husband and I could spend a day in the city kid-free!  I ♥ her.  We went to Bleeding Heart Bakery for a late breakfast and after looking at cases upon cases of delicious looking cupcakes, cookies and other sweets, I chose a broccoli quiche.  My husband couldn’t believe it.  But, with all the desserts that I bake, I really wanted something savory and it was delicious.   My husband chose a giant whoopie pie, but was disappointed that it wasn’t nearly as good as mine.   I tasted a bite and couldn’t help but agree.  😀 After breakfast, we had time before the movie, so we decided to browse some at Barnes and Noble.  Of course, I made a beeline straight for the cookbook section.  It is there that I came across the book The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, flipped through a few pages and decided that I needed it.  But, it is so hard for me to buy books at the bookstore, when I know I am able to get them so much cheaper on Amazon.  So, somehow I restrained myself and noted the title so I could order it that night.

When the book arrived, I was flipping through it and  I knew that I had to make the chocolate chip cookie dough filled sandwich cookies immediately.  I mean, are you kidding me?  My favorite cookie, sandwiched together with cookie dough filling, which I may like even more than the cookie itself?  Now, that is genius!  The cookie batter comes together easily, just like any other chocolate chip cookie dough.  The cookies bake up flat, and a bit crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle.  The cookie dough frosting tastes so much like cookie dough, I had a hard time not eating it all right out of the bowl.  Okay, I admit it.  I ate some.  But, I still had enough to fill the cookies…well, most of them anyways.   Filled or not, these cookies are simply delicious.  As if there was any doubt.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwich Cookies

Yield: 20 to 24 sandwich cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips

For Cookie Dough Filling:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugars until no lumps remain, 1-2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll chilled dough into smooth, tablespoon-size balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Flatten balls slightly into 3/4-inch disks.  Arrange about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. These flatten and spread quite a bit.  I suggest baking 9 cookies/sheet for your first batch so you can gauge size and spacing.  Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until cookie edges are lightly golden. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the cookie dough filling, beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in flour, powdered sugar, and salt on low speed until incorporated. Slowly add heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in mini chocolate chips.

To assemble, sandwich 1 heaping tablespoon of filling between two cookies. Press cookies lightly until filling spreads to the edges. Repeat with remaining cookies.  Sandwiches can be stored refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.  Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Source:  The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook

Toll House Style Tartlets

This morning I decided to make lemon cheesecake tassies.  They sound fabulous right?   Though they tasted good, they all stuck in the pan and were a big mess.  Ugh.  So, I decided to try a different recipe, along the same lines, chocolate chip cookie tartlets.  It seemed sure to be a winner.  So, I made the dough, refrigerated it, and then read in the recipe that I was to “pack” it into the muffin wells.  Hmmm…I interpret pack it to mean fill it.  I thought to myself won’t it run over?  But, the first run of the recipe I like to follow it as written so I packed those wells full, put them in the oven and hoped for the best.  Well, I should have gone with my gut, because darn it if those cookie tartlets didn’t run into each other, creating another giant mess.  So frustrating!  But, I tasted one and it was delicious.  Luckily I had some dough left, so I decided to fill the wells about 2/3 full this time.  Now they baked into perfect little blondie muffins, a bit crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  The top sinks in a bit, creating the perfect bowl for a small scoop of your favorite ice cream and some chocolate syrup.  A warm, mini cookie sundae, super cute!  Now, how can I still be mad?? 😀

 Toll House Style Tartlets

Yield:  24 mini tartlets per recipe, I got 31 – even more if you fill the wells about 2/3 full.

1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips  I used 1 bag, about 2 cups and it was plenty

Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with nonstick spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and both sugars until fluffy.  Blend in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.  Stir in the baking soda mixture, then the flour and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Pack the batter into the mini muffin cups – I suggest to only about 2/3 full or they rise too much and will run together.  Place the muffin pan on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until just set.  I would start checking at about 10 minutes.  Let cool completely on wire racks.  Freeze, in the pan, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.   I did not freeze them.

Remove the cookies from the cups.  To store, wrap each cookie in waxed paper or cellophane and refrigerate for up to 1 month.  Serve cold.  I served warm and at room temperature.

Source: The New Best Of Better Baking.com

Back in the Day Bakery’s Drunk Blondies

Who doesn’t like blondies?  I love them because chocolate chip cookies are my favorite and sometimes when I have a hankering for them, I just don’t have enough time or I am too tired or too lazy to make individual cookies.  Heck, these are so easy, you don’t even need to pull out your Kitchen Aid mixer.  Just mix the batter by hand with a spatula, spread them in a pan, bake them, and they are done.  It really is that simple.  And, these are not your usual blondies.  No.  These are made better with a little kick from a hit of bourbon whiskey.   It’s only 2 tablespoons, but I could definitely taste it.  Though, I am not a fair judge, since I don’t really drink.  But, my husband, who let’s just say has had his fair share of alcoholic beverages, says the bourbon is very present.  My final taste tester, my daughter Sammie, says she can’t taste the alcohol…as if she knows how bourbon tastes.  I think she associates alcohol with tasting bad (please continue to believe this in 10 years :D) and since she loved them, she thinks she can’t taste it.   They were delicious, a nice change from the usual blondies and a great base for a variety of your favorite mix-ins.

Drunk blondies

Yield: 13 x 9 pan of blondies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons bourbon

1/4 cup chopped pecans   I omitted

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (See tip)   I omitted

1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips    I doubled to 1/2 cup

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan and line with parchment, allowing the ends of the paper to hang over two opposite edges of the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Put the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and stir with a spoon until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and bourbon, and mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in the flour mixture, followed by the pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut the blondies into bars. The blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Tip: The easiest way to toast coconut is in the oven. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the coconut in a baking pan and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, tossing every couple of minutes with a heat-resistant spoon to ensure even browning. Keep a close eye on the coconut, because it can burn easily.”

Source:  Back in the Day Bakery

Chocolate Dreams

When I got the Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook in the mail, I tore through it immediately and I honestly wanted to make every recipe in the book.  I love retro, old-style baking, and as the name of the bakery implies, this one fits the bill.  I first made the lemon pie bars and they were super delicious.  So, I decided to make the next recipe that caught my eye, Chocolate Dreams.  If the name doesn’t convince you to make these cookies, their description certainly will. ” True chocolate lovers, meet your ideal cookie!  This cookie has as much pure chocolate as we could possibly pack into one.  It has a brownie-like exterior and intense gooey goodness inside.”  How can one read that and say, no, that cookie doesn’t sound good.  Well, okay, besides my husband.. . 😀  The resulting cookie was true to their word.  I love the glossy coat the cookies get on the outside, just like you get on a perfect brownie.  Then when you bite into it, the bold chocolate flavor is almost shocking in its richness and then the gooeyness….oh my goodness!!  This is one fabulous cookie.  I only made half a batch (what was I thinking?) and I was sad because they were gone far too quickly.  But, it’s for the best, because I don’t think I would have been able to part with any of these cookies.  And, if I keep them, I eat them, all of them!

Chocolate Dreams

Yield: 24 cookies

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder,  preferably aluminum free

1/8 tsp fine sea salt

4 large eggs, at room temp

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp espresso powder or finely ground coffee

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped   I used Callebaut

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and espresso together thoroughly.  Set aside.

Put the bittersweet chocolate and the butter in a large heatproof bowl.  Set the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water (do not let bottom touch the water) and heat.  Stir frequently until melted and smooth.  ( I put the cut butter and chopped chocolate in a bowl and microwaved them carefully until almost all melted, then let the residual heat melt the rest of the chocolate.)  Remove from heat and set aside until warm, not hot.

Add the egg mixture to the cooled chocolate mixture, stirring until combined.  Stir in the flour mixture.  Then, fold in the chocolate chips.

Use a small ice cream scoop to form the cookies, about 1 rounded tablespoon each, and place on the prepared cookie sheets.  Leave about 2 inches between the cookies to allow for spreading.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time to ensure even doneness.  The surface of the cookies should look dry and set, but the centers should still be gooey.  Let the cookies cool on a wire rack.  Store the cookies in an airtight container for up until 3 days at room temperature.

SourceThe Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Southern Living’s Fudge Pie

With my husband out for the afternoon, I thought it would be fun to surprise Jack and Sammie with a chocolatey treat.  I was looking through Classic Southern Desserts  and when I came to the picture of fudge pie, I was stopped dead in my tracks.   Like most people I love brownies and I love pie.  Not much could be better than a combination of the two.   I don’t make pie very often, mostly because I don’t always have time to make a homemade crust.  But, this pie has no crust.  How great is that?  You just make a simple brownie batter with ingredients that most people probably already have on hand and if you like, add a sprinkling of pecans.  I am a brownie purist, so I left them out.  Instead, I decided to throw in some mini chocolate chips to add some little pockets of melted chocolate goodness.   The batter is poured in a pie plate and baked.  It really is as easy as that.  I like to pull my pie out of the oven a little bit underdone, so I can achieve maximum gooeyness.  When it is still warm, it is best served with a big ol’ scoop of your favorite ice cream and a generous drizzle of chocolate syrup.  I called Jack and Sammie to the table for a surprise.   When they arrived, with their eyes large and fixated on the pie, they both asked “Why do we get to eat dessert before dinner?”  Do you guys really want to question me on this?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  Grab some forks and let’s eat!

Fudge Pie

3/4 cup butter or margarine

3 (1-ounce) unsweetened chocolate squares   I used Callebaut

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted and divided  optional

1/4 to 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips  optional

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often until melted.   I put the cut butter and chopped chocolate in a bowl and microwaved them carefully until almost all melted, then let the residual heat melt the rest of the chocolate.

Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Gradually add chocolate mixture, flour, and vanilla, beating until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans (if using) and mini chips (if using).

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate.

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is firm. Cool. Top each serving with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Source: Classic Southern Desserts:  All-Time Favorite Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Puddings, Cobblers, Ice Cream and More

Chocolate Marble Chunk Cookies

One of the hardest things to bake is the lovely French macaron, which is a light, almond-based meringue cookie sandwiched with a creamy filling.  They are just really finicky and it seems almost as though the stars have to align to get them just right.  Unfortunately, the stars apparently were in disarray and my macarons failed :(.  Big time!  All the shells and the batter went right into the garbage.  Oh well, I am really glad I tried and now I am more determined than ever to try again.  Hopefully sometime soon, you will see some beautiful macarons on my blog.   But, not too soon, because those failed macarons made me sad.  What makes me happy?   Delicious cookies.    Hmmm….but what kind would be best to lift my spirits?  They better be some fantastic cookies!!  Chocolate cookies?  Maybe.  Chocolate chip cookies?  I do love those.  I just couldn’t decide.  So why not make them both, marbled together in one cookie?  That’s a perfect compromise!  The nice thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to make two completely separate doughs, like you do in a lot of marbled cookie recipes.  You make the vanilla dough first, remove some of it to a separate bowl, and flavor what is left with cocoa powder.  The marbling looks so impressive, but it is really easy to do.  You just take a big pinch of both flavored doughs, sandwich them together, roll them in a ball, and then lightly press them into a disk.   That’s it!  Warm right from the oven, you will love the contrast in texture of the melted chocolate chunks against the soft, chewy cookie. Just when I thought these cookies couldn’t be more delicious, I just realized, as I am here writing and eating two cookies sandwiched together with vanilla ice cream…indeed they can be even more delicious!  These cookies certainly did their job.  Eh, French macarons?  What are those?  Winking smile
Chocolate Marble Chunk Cookies
Makes about 60 cookies  I got 34
 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened alkalized (Dutch-processed) cocoa powder, sifted   I used Valrhona
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet bar chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces   I used more like 6 oz of semisweet Callebaut.  Chocolate chips will work, but they don’t melt like cut chocolate bars do.
1 3/4 cups pecan pieces   I omitted
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Have 2 ungreased baking sheets at hand.  I used parchment
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium-high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the flour mixture at low speed, mixing just until blended.

4. Transfer 1 3/4 cups of the dough to another bowl and set aside. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining dough in the mixer and mix on low speed until blended. Add half of the chocolate pieces and about half of the pecan pieces and mix until blended. Stir the remaining half of the chocolate and pecan pieces into the remaining light-colored dough. Fill half of a 1 tablespoon scoop or measure with the light dough, making it well rounded, not level. Fill the remaining half with the chocolate dough.   I took a big pinch of white dough in my left hand and of the chocolate with my right hand and sandwiched them together.  They were probably 1 Tbsp worth of dough together.  Roll the doughs into a ball and place it on an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten it into a 1 1/2-inch disc with your palm (wet it first, to prevent sticking). Repeat to form more cookies, spacing them 2 inches apart. I got 9 cookies to a sheet.  Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the lighter dough just begins to color. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

Storage: in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Source:  The Good Cookie:  Over 250 Delicious Recipes from Simple to Sublime

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